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TEXAS REGULATORS OPEN THE VALVE ON METHANOL; MOVE EXPECTED TO BOOST NATURAL GAS MARKET

 TEXAS REGULATORS OPEN THE VALVE ON METHANOL;
 MOVE EXPECTED TO BOOST NATURAL GAS MARKET
 WASHINGTON, April 9 /PRNewswire/ -- The Texas Air Control Board (TACB), recognizing the environmental, health and safety benefits of methanol, today approved methanol for use as an alternative transit fuel in Texas.
 Existing Texas law mandates the use of alternative fuels in fleet vehicles. The TACB action will give Texas consumers the option of fueling their cars with methanol, a liquid form of natural gas that is convenient to use, reduces emissions and improves performance.
 Methanol, which burns cleaner than gasoline, is already used in fleet and transit vehicles operating in states that have air quality control problems. In addition, flexible fuel vehicles -- cars designed to run on either gasoline or methanol -- are currently being produced by all three American automobile manufacturers.
 The TACB approval is seen as opening up a significant new market for natural gas in the state. "This recognition of methanol's many advantages is good economic news for the state's natural gas producers," said Raymond A. Lewis, president of the American Methanol Institute (AMI). "Opening up the methanol market will increase demand for natural gas and support today's sagging prices."
 The total domestic natural gas demand created by methanol and its derivative MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether) is projected to be 500 Bcf (billion cubic feet) by 1995. By contrast, it will be 2010 before natural gas demand from the sale of compressed natural gas (CNG) reaches 200 Bcf, according to the Gas Research Institute.
 Methanol's environmental, safety and performance benefits as a transportation fuel have been validated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the state of California, among others. Lewis noted that "California's four major air quality agencies agreed that methanol can reduce toxic and smog-forming emissions by as much as 50 percent."
 The ruling came in response to requests from AMI, a variety of government agencies, automobile manufacturers and Texas methanol producers, including EPA, the Motor Vehicle Manufacturer's Association, Beaumont Methanol Corporation, Hoeschst Celanese Corporation and Tenneco Methanol, now owned by ENRON Corp. Ray Lewis, president of American Methanol Institute is in Texas for the TACB hearing and is available for comment.
 -0- 4/9/92 R
 /CONTACT: Jo Buckenheimer of the American Methanol Institute, 202-467-5050/ CO: American Methanol Institute; Texas Air Control Board ST: Texas IN: OIL SU:


MH-DC -- DC016 -- 6817 04/09/92 13:21 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 9, 1992
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